“Let’s Go, Brendon!”

Brendon St. Amand  Photo Credit: Don St. Amand

On a late November (or was it early December?) afternoon when I was released from my responsibilities at the correctional facility in Charleston, I made my way to Tim Horton’s coffee shop on Broadway in Bangor to meet with Don St. Amand, Brendon’s grandfather. He was waiting to talk with me about his grandson, a young man that has lived with Don and Brenda since the age of eighteen months. When I had first floated the idea of talking with families involved in Bangor Alternative Baseball (BAB) during the offseason to learn more about our players (other than my own, of course!), Don was the first to take me up on the offer.

Four o’clock traffic being what it is coming down from Charleston to Bangor on Route 15, I was a few minutes late, but Don wasn’t perturbed in the least. We entered the den of sugary temptation and I chose a table while he purchased refreshment for himself. I resisted. Yay me. At least, that’s what I remember. He may remember things differently.

At any rate, I had questions, and Don had answers. Brendon had just turned 19 on November 10th, having graduated high school in June. He grew up in Bangor without any interest in baseball. However, Brenda had worked with Kevin Stevenson for a number of years, so when she heard that he was involved in starting BAB, she suggested that Brendon try playing. He did, and he liked it, so he stayed with the team.

While he didn’t play baseball growing up, Brendon does identify as a Red Sox fan. I suppose it comes with the territory, though I commend him for it!

As we know, Brendon loves music. I asked Don what inspires his grandson each day, and while he had no particular response, we talked about music, and he agreed that Brendon’s love of music did drive a lot of his interests. He plays guitar and piano, and as we all know, he sings! It was a delight to hear him sing the Star-Spangled Banner before our practices and games this fall, and he entertained us at our closing banquet.

What is Brendon’s greatest challenge: “Overcoming unwillingness” to do things. He has a schedule that he follows that includes chores, work, time with others, and other responsibilities. However, when faced with a situation he doesn’t like or want, it’s tough for him just to do it.

On the other hand, when asked how he handles everyday challenges and disappointments, Don said, “He just does. He does what he needs to do. He’s always been like that.”

I enjoyed talking with and listening to Don. He told me of his own career in sales with Kraft Foods. I’ve never known anyone in sales as interesting as he! (My apologies to everyone else I’ve known in sales that I just insulted! You younger ones still have time to become more interesting!) I don’t know if Don St. Amand is as calm in every situation as I’ve seen him in our few interactions or not, but he seems a good fellow to have around. 🙂

Brenda St. Amand, now that I understand how you know Coach Kevin, I get how you were able to organize so much for the team in our first year! I kept shaking my head at how quickly you figured out what help he needed in September, when the team had only just begun practicing that month! (Ha ha ha. Like me, you’d known him a while.)

Our team owes YOU great thanks, too, for all the logistical work you did for us in our inaugural year. Many thanks to you and Don! And thank you for bringing Brendon to the team!

In closing, my final question to Don: “Is there anything about Brendon that the team should know—anything to be sensitive about that can be shared?” Yes, and it’s true of at least one other on the team (my son, for one). “Loud noises are an issue, so yelling or clapping loudly nearby are disturbing.”

Yelling or clapping loudly nearby. These are things we don’t usually consider, are they? I mean, what do we do at ball games when our players/teams do well? We yell, scream, and clap loudly, right?

As we proceed in 2022 with Bangor Alternative Baseball, let’s keep in mind various needs of our players: Loud noises can be disturbing. Touching the head can be disturbing. Waving hands near the head or face can be disturbing.

What else? Ask questions. Offer information to teammates, coaches, and volunteers. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Advocate for yourself or others. We want BAB to be fun and safe!

Thanks, everyone, for a great inaugural year for Bangor Alternative Baseball! Happy New Year! See you in 2022!

Sincerely yours,

Bill MacDonald, Web Host, Blog Writer

#baseball #bangoralternativebaseball #alternativebaseballorganization #taylorduncan #coaches #volunteers #teammates #specialneeds #awareness #BAB #facebook

 

 

Published by Bangor Alternative Baseball (BAB)

We are a coed team of teens and adults, ages 15+ with autism and other disabilities, that play baseball and learn life and social skills for on and off the baseball diamond. We are part of a national nonprofit organization featuring more than 80 teams across America.

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